WEST FORK, AR (KNWA) – A gruesome dog attack in Arkansas left a boy in the hospital and city officials with their hands tied.
On Friday, two pit bulls attacked a toddler – Matthew Guess – in West Fork, Arkansas.
He was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock with life-threatening injuries.
We were able to speak with his father – Dustin – who is making it his mission to make sure no parent has to witness their child struggle for life.
“He said daddy, they had my face,” Dustin Guess said. “I couldn’t win.”
Dustin Guess vividly remembers holding his son – Matthew – as time seemed to stand still.
“I still have his cowboy boots that have pieces of my son’s face on them that fell off when I picked him up,” Guess said.
Matthew lays in a hospital bed after multiple surgeries and countless stitches.
“I don’t know how to describe the darkness, the loneliness, the pair and the fear and the anger,” Guess said. “I mean it’s every emotion at the highest level.”
Forty cities in the Natural State have breed-specific legislation towards pit bills.
But in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, “We don’t have any prohibitions for any particular breed,” Washington County Attorney Brian Lester said.
Lester says this one incident could change this. “I’ve already received talk from one of the Justice’s of the Peace, a member of the Quorum Court, here who questioned this specifically,” Lester said.
The Washington County ordinance says just one bite and a dog can be deemed “dangerous”
“Any dog in any home, whether it’s in a good home or abused could potentially attack somebody,” Lester said.
Under that clarification, the owner must present the county proof that he or she has liability insurance, keep the dog in an enclosed area, and the court may order the animal to be euthanized at any time.
But according to Lester, it’s hard to manage.
“It’s unfortunate because right now there is no fail-proof way to keep this from happening again,” Lester said.
72 hours after the attack Matthew is already on the road to recovery.
“He still has that grin,” Guess said. “It’s not gone and it still works.”
And while lawsuits, medical bills, and campaigning for new laws are in the back of Guess’ mind, he’s focusing on the future.
“My reality and my understanding to this point now is that there has to be, there has to be, something put in place to protect our children when parents fail, because I was a failed parent myself,” Guess said.
One of the pit bulls that was involved in the attack was euthanized.
And as of now, the other dog wll be returned to the owner under specific guidelines.
Matthew’s next surgery is set for early this week.
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